2022 Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation
Leadership Camp

by Jo Kyo Paul Duval

The Atlantic Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation recently held its Annual Texas/Southwest Regional Leadership Camp at Butman Camp & Retreat in Merkel, Texas. It was an amazing weekend of Martial Arts training and fellowship in West Texas that will definitely stay with all in attendance for years to come. Students traveled many miles from all over the region to be a part of this outstanding Leadership Camp.  Schools in attendance were Colorado Tang Soo Do from Aurora, CO, San Antonio Karate Academy from San Antonio, TX Rising Phoenix Tang Soo Do from Albuquerque, NM and Cornerstone Martial Arts and Leadership Academy from Arlington, TX. 

Distinguished attendees at the event included Kwan Jang Nim John St. James, Founder, President and CEO of the Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation as well Sunim Kuktche Sabum Nim Stacy Busby of Busby's Family Karate. From the region were Master Instructors Kuktche Sabum Nim Mark Farquharson, Colorado Tang Soo Do of Aurora, Colorado, Sunim Sabom Nim Peter Estrada, San Antonio Karate Academy of San Antonio,Texas and Rising Phoenix Tang Soo Do of Albuquerque, NM as well as Sabom Nim Paul Dulaney, Cornerstone Martial Arts and Leadership Academy of Arlington Texas.

Camp check in began Friday afternoon and the sounds of welcome and greetings to friends new and old were echoing throughout the beautiful Camp Butman grounds. Room assignments were given, and campers eagerly moved in and began to discuss classes and expectations for the weekend. There was a definite level of excitement running through the campers for what was to come. Dan Shim Sa participants began their testing journey with the written portion of their test while the Gups had a little down time before dinner. Following a wonderful and greatly appreciated meal prepared by Ms. Shannon Chambers, Sunim Sabom Nim Peter Estrada delivered the orientation and safety brief. An emphasis was made on "emptying your cup"- you can't learn something new if you believe you already have the answer. To listen, visualize and record, be open to reflection, serve, lead and inspire, and most of all have fun. Afterward students retired to their cabins for some much-needed sleep and preparation for what was to come the following day.

Saturday kicked off with two early morning sessions of Healing Warrior Society curriculum; Energy Cultivation led by Kwan Jang Nim John St. James and Static vs Dynamic Stretching led by Kyo sa Desirae Cuevas. These classes were an excellent way to begin an action-packed day of instruction and really helped to center the mind and body for what was to come.

The rest of Saturday morning consisted of various classes that offered the campers the opportunity to work on rank specific Hyung as well as classes on rolls and falls, combinations, and a "drills and skills" class that will help to increase the camper's proficiency at all levels. The younger campers also had the opportunity to enjoy an adventurous "hike and strike" outing which sounded like it was a huge success.

After breaking for lunch, the 3-hour Dan Shim Sa physical test began for the campers reviewing for and testing to Jr Cho Dan, Cho Dan and higher Dan ranks. For those on the testing floor, it was an opportunity to show what years of hard work has produced, to grow and experience the rigors of a demanding test all under the watchful eyes of the Shim Sa Kwan Nim. This test will be one that many of the participants will remember for years to come. The amount of Moo Do spirit and dedication shown was in and of itself a bold statement as to the benefits of martial arts training. Everyone on that floor should be very proud of the effort and dedication shown to our Art.

For those campers not on the testing floor, the opportunity to enjoy some downtime was offered in the form of zip-lines, slip and slides, pool time and a rock wall climb. One could definitely tell fun was being had if the level of laughter and the abundance of smiles was any indication.

Following the downtime, Gup training began again in earnest with multiple class options such as Sunim Kuktche Sabom Nim Stacy Busby's knife defense class, Self defense with Bu Sabom Nim Rick Crouse, Bong training with Kyo Sa Nim Joe Aldrich and kicking with Kyo Sa Nim Michele Lopez to kick off the first of 2 afternoon sessions. The second session also had some outstanding classes in the form of the always exciting Cane Self Defense taught by Kuktche Sabom Nim Mark Farquharson, the first of a 2 part Creative Karate Class by Sunim Sabom Nim Peter Estrada, Bong Mechanics and Tricking, Striking and Acrobatics with Sabom Nim Paul Dulaney and Healing Warrior Society Mindfulness with Kyo Sa Nim Michele Lopez. It was a fun filled afternoon with a ton of opportunities for growth and expansion. Again, having the need for that "empty cup" was never more apparent!

Following dinner, the campers had a multitude of class choices in 2 breakout sessions that encompassed various aspects of the art. From the Healing Warrior Society, a class conducted by Kuktche Sabom Nim Mark Farquharson on Tai Chi Push Hands was very fun and informative, the second session of Creative Karate by Sunim Sabom Nim Peter Estrada, Escrima by Bu Sabom Nim Paul Lopez and a really interesting class on Bayonet Fighting techniques by Kyo Sa Greene which was met with much anticipation.

For the next session, campers were treated to Kwan Jang Nim John St. James' leadership presentation on the Master's Path - The Way of the Warrior - a presentation covering the Warrior's Way Success Model, tools for building success models and how to stay the course, beginning with the end in mind. 

The final sessions of the night gave the campers the time to learn more Healing Warrior Society curriculum. This time on Aromatherapy, Stretching and Mobility with Sunim Sabom Nim Petere Estrada, a back to the basics class with Kyo Sa Nim Joe Aldrich and a camp favorite class on Hojo Undo - The Art of Hardening the Body for Battle taught by Sabom Nim Paul Dulaney! This class really created tons of smiles and excitement and will definitely be one that is taken back to the schools after camp!

The evening closed with a "Bonfire" style event that allowed the campers time to socialize and have some fun cutting loose to music and line dancing as well as to indulge on some excellent s'mores. It was a great way to close a wonderful day of training!

A group of people in white robesDescription automatically generated with low confidenceSunday morning began with a class on Chi Gong/Tai Chi by Kuktche Sabom Nim Mark Farquharson that helped those in attendance to center and get their bodies ready for the day. After breakfast, all the campers got together for the traditional group pictures before the final class sessions of the weekend. Combat Staff by Kwan Jang Nim John St. James was a highlight as was the Beekeeping 101 Class taught by Sunim Kuktche Sabom Nim Stacy Busby, an interesting take on the similarity of beehive dynamics and how it relates to the Martial Arts. Additionally, there was Ground Fighting and Grappling with Kuktche Sabom Nim Mark Farquharson which provided an excellent way to finish the breakout sessions for the weekend. As Camp drew to a close, all those in attendance gathered together for the traditional Group Hyung. For many it was their first time to experience doing a Hyung as a large group and allowed them the opportunity to really break down the movements and gain broader understanding of the purpose of Hyung. This was all led by the watchful eye and beat of the drum of Kwan Jang Nim John St. James. Kwan Jang Nim's teaching really shined as the group conducted Pyung Ahn Cho Dan on a grand scale.

Campers departed this year's Annual Texas/Southwest Leadership Camp with a plethora of new information, amazing friendships new and old, and a ton of great memories to take home to their respective dojang. As in years past, the chance to come together for the love of the art, train and grow together with other Schools from within the Federation was a huge success. Thank you to all the Masters, Kyo Sas, attendees and especially the Chaperones without whom events like this would not be possible. We are so appreciative of your time and commitment! Driving home and reminiscing on the awesome time that was had, we were sad the weekend had to end but are eagerly awaiting next years Leadership Camp and feeling a profound sense of appreciation and excitement to continue our journey within the Art of Tang Soo Do.



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